The Independent: Sex work to be decriminalised in Mexico City in bid to cut trafficking

‘Exercising sexuality in our country is still a taboo topic that few of us dare to talk about’

Maya Oppenheim Women’s Correspondent @mayaoppenheim

Lawmakers in Mexico City’s congress on Friday voted 38-0, with eight abstentions, in favour of a bill to remove a line in the civic culture law which said prostitutes and their clients can be fined or arrested if neighbours make a complaintLawmakers in Mexico City’s congress on Friday voted 38-0, with eight abstentions, in favour of a bill to remove a line in the civic culture law which said prostitutes and their clients can be fined or arrested if neighbours make a complaint ( Dai Kurokawa )

Sex work could be decriminalised in Mexico City after politicians voted to change a bill that says that those engaging in it can be fined or arrested if neighbours make a complaint.

In what they hope will be a first step forward in clamping down on sex trafficking that traps thousands of Mexican women and children, lawmakers in the capital’s congress voted 38-0 – with eight abstentions – in support of a bill to take out a line in the civic culture law which allows for prosecutions of both workers and their clients.

The new law recognised that individuals had the right to engage in sex work, said Temistocles Villanueva, a local representative with the ruling centre-left Morena party.

“It’s a first step that has to lead to regulation of sex work, to fight human trafficking and strengthen the rights of sex workers. Exercising sexuality in our country is still a taboo topic that few of us dare to talk about,” he added.

Prostitution in Mexico is legal under federal law – with each of the 31 states enacting its own prostitution laws and policies.

The United Nations estimated in 2016 that there were 236,930 sex workers in the Central American country.

He said: “We think that the big challenge of this congress will be making both of these fundamental principles compatible.”

There have been widespread calls for prostitution to be decriminalised in the UK – with the English Collective of Prostitutes recently launching a campaign called “Make All Women Safe” for the decriminalisation of sex work.

The leading campaign group argues sex workers often have to choose between keeping safe and possible arrest, or avoiding a criminal record and putting themselves in danger.

It is not illegal for individuals to buy or sell sex from each other in the UK, but soliciting and sex workers banding together as a group are illegal.

The Home Affairs Select Committee recommended decriminalising prostitution in 2016. The interim report on prostitution said the Home Office should immediately change the legislation so soliciting would no longer be an offence, and change brothel-keeping laws to permit sex workers to share premises without losing the ability to prosecute those who used brothels to control or exploit sex workers.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/mexico-city-sex-work-trafficking-decriminalised-congress-vote-a8940486.html?fbclid=IwAR25LlzCnHMNvZ4sr_3tYouUsLFNTLPPaUq4OoTHiepPihYsuMD0uhcBCp0